Carl Christian Anton Christensen—
Born November 28, 1831, in Copenhagen, Denmark; learned the art of painting, studying the art of drawing in the Royal Academy of Art in Copenhagen; baptized September 26, 1850, by Geo. P. Dykes; ordained a Priest in January, 1853 and called to labor as a missionary on the island of Sjælland; later, the same year, he was ordained an Elder and sent on a mission to Norway, where he introduced the Gospel in the city of Christiania and organized a branch of the Church in that city December 8, 1853; later he preached in Drammen, Christiania and Aker, suffering persecution; in 1855 he succeeded Canute Peterson as president of the Christiania conference; emigrated to Utah in 1857; filled a mission to Norway in 1865-1868, presiding over the Christiania conference. Having removed to Ephraim, Sanpete County, he became president of the 47th quorum of Seventy; filled another mission to Scandinavia in 1887-1889, laboring as translator for “Skandinaviens Stjerne:” ordained a Patriarch March 4, 1900; he has composed numerous hymns.(1)
There are five men of great importance to the Sorensen family. 1) Christian Daniel Fjeldsted and his companion, 2) Ola Nilsson Liljenquist whom brought the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Sorensen household, 3) Matthias Cowley who was in charge of our emigrating company from Liverpool, England to Great Salt Lake City. He is also the man whom we believe to have been responsible for "Nicolai's Promise." 4) Andrew Jenson, an assistant Church historian, who visited with the Sorensen family and collected manuscript records for the creation of the "History of the Mendon Ward," and other works. Last but not lease, 5) Carl Christian Anton Christensen, often referred to as C.C.A. Christensen. As steward aboard the ship Westmoreland, he often issued food and supplies to the Sorensen family. It is in his art, however that I have come to love him the most. For he had the talent to draw that which he had seen, and his remembrances of the voyage across the sea, and the journey across the plains in the handcart company, along side of the wagon company of the Sorensen family, much of the time.
He has much more than just the shared experiences of the ocean and plains, he drew and painted these themes, and as such preserved them for everyone. His famous painting of "The Handcart Company," crossing a small stream… we were there. That could be the Sorensen family near their wagon in the background. His work reflects the images of those in our company. There is no reason those reflection could not be members of our family. If you think of this, you will never think nor look at C. C. A.’s work in the same light, or spirit again.
Carl also worked with Andrew Jenson on the writing of the History of the Scandinavian Mission and other works of this type. His command of English and his journals written it both languages are benefit to many to this very day. I am thankful and grateful to have had our family in the presence of these men. I am so glad to have images of our journey, to Zion, and not a void of emptiness. Thank you C.C.A. Christensen…
A short overview of C.C.A. Christensen's journey is in order— as soon as the Westmoreland was off the English coast, he was married to his loving bride Elise R. S. Scheel. It was found to be better to marry those whom were so inclined, rather than to try to keep same apart on the long voyage across the ocean, plains and mountains. Matthias Cowley might have performed the civil union, or one of his councilors, Hunt or O. N. Liljenquist. As noted, due to his command of English, spoken and written, this Dane was a perfect choice to become one of the ships stewards. In what spare time there was aboard ship he penned a “Handcart Song” in Danish, complete with marching rhythm and fife sounds.
His honeymoon continued with a near three-month handcart trek from Iowa City, Iowa to Great Salt Lake City. He recorded detailed reminiscences about some of those in his company. Of note is the story of a man, whom could not smell, that brought a skunk into camp to be cooked. Of the blind woman who giggled when she splashed across the small streams. These and others help to complete the story of the emigration of this year. And though he was glad to come to Utah and Zion, he nonetheless marched into Great Salt Lake City with a Danish flag waving proudly from his handcart. How can you not love him?
- Anthon H. Lund, Andrew Jenson, J. M. Sjodahl & C. A. F. Orlob, Compilers, Scandinavian Jubilee Album 1850-1900, Salt Lake City, 6 June 1900, page 102